There is a common fallacy that as long as a company stays in business, it is worth investing in. Yet for investors who seek to appreciate their returns, all hopeful intentions aside, finding companies that do more than survive and actually return value to shareholders is an important task. One of the fundamental principles to consider is the opportunity cost of where your money is parked. Can such invested capital be yielding a better return elsewhere?
Stability does have its role in this investment world, and one thing these companies often reflect are industries that are relatively stable. Yet in order to thrive, such companies often incorporate large amounts of debt, which could easily be seen through a measure such as net tangible assets. As a result, as seen during the Great Recession, such companies fared not much better than the market as a whole, as fears of large debt loomed. Thus, the reasoning for holding stock in a "stable" company that yields little return should be called into question.
The following are a few companies that seem to lack the rationale for a long-term investment in light of higher returns in other stocks that are just as stable. In some cases, these companies might just typify the industry itself and should cause some investors some to bypass them altogether. Ironically, some of the most prevalent industries we see in our daily lives might just not be returning value in the most efficient manner. None of the following companies provide dividends that warrant an alternative consideration apart from growth.
The following net tangible assets [NTA] and net incomes are based on the company's latest annual filings. Market capitalizations are based as of January 13, 2012.
|Name||Mkt. Cap.||NTA||Net Income||Industry|
|Lions Gate (LGF)||$1.09 B||($112 M)||($54 M)||Motion Pictures|
|Graphic Packaging (NYSE:GPK)||$1.85 B||($1.03 B)||$11 M||Packaging|
|General Comm. (NASDAQ:GNCMA)||$441 M||($109 M)||$9 M||Long-Distance Carriers|
|Cadiz (NASDAQ:CDZI)||$133 M||($3 M)||($16 M)||Land Water Reserve|
|Crown Castle Intl (NYSE:CCI)||$12.90 B||($1.89 B)||($331 M)||Communications Infrastructure|
|Delta Air Lines (NYSE:DAL)||$7.32 B||($13.64 B)||$593 M||Airlines|
Lions Gate Entertainment (LGF) hasn't seen a positive net income for at least the last 3 years despite increasing revenues. With a meager operating margin of 7.44%, and an operating cash flow that only went positive this year, the company stands as just another name in an industry that continues to struggle.
Graphic Packaging Holding Company (GPK) provides packaging solutions in the North America, South America, Europe and Asia. Despite large amounts of revenue, the poor margins, high debt, and lack of a dividend make this company not a good investment.
General Communication (GNCMA) has increasing long term debt and relatively slow growth. Investors looking to invest in communications should at least consider a company that provides a dividend to compensate for the long-haul wait for growth.
Cadiz (CDZI) is a water resource acquisition company that has yet to return significant revenue. Despite a promising long-term future in light of dwindling freshwater supplies, the company's drift into growing lemon trees and renting land for solar development suggest a severe lack of progress for many years to come.
Crown Castle International (CCI) owns, operates, and leases communication towers and other wireless infrastructure. The industry as a whole takes on considerable amounts of long-term debt in order to sustain its growth. With share prices recovering nicely since the market crash in 2008, investors might now consider staying away from the company, as prices begin to stabilize and previous levels. Until the company begins to offer a dividend, there's little reason not to seek value elsewhere.
Delta Air Lines (DAL) is just another victim of an industry that has historically struggled to make ends meet. With the likeliness of rising oil prices, increasing regulation, large debt loads, and decreasing consumer satisfaction, investors should question why invest in the industry at all? Investors looking for transportation exposure could easily consider a company like CSX Corporation (NYSE:CSX) in railways, which offers a 2% dividend while the investor awaits increasing growth. Even a diversified approach to shipping could be found in The Guggenheim Shipping ETF (NYSEARCA:SEA) which provides a trailing yield of 5%. Regardless, as an older company in a sensitive industry, Delta is sure to feel the pinch in any economic slow down. Its very large debt load compared to cash on hand provides an additional ongoing concern for investors looking to rely merely on brand name recognition.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.